June 30, 2020

About the Author: Stefan Joubert

Stefan Joubert
Stefan Joubert is passionate about helping adults to learn the piano. He is the manager of The London Piano Institute & The Dubai Piano Institute. He offers world-class piano instruction online via Zoom and is your first port of call for anything piano related. Best way to get in touch is via enrol@londonpianoinstitute.co.uk

Learning to play a musical instrument online via Zoom or another platform, is a great new way of studying music!

Online training is simply as good as in-person training, in fact, online training is better. Rehana Malik, Trainer and Coach Dec 22, 2018

What an exciting time we live in! For the first time ever people are able to study an instrument without having to travel to the teacher. You can live on mars or on the South pole or in Malaysia and still learn to play an instrument anywhere in the world!

With the recent COVID-19 virus many individuals, small businesses and educational groups and even piano training groups have been exploring the training of students online.

Training via Zoom, Skype or Facetime etc.

With the right hardware and a reliable internet connection, Skype or Zoom piano lessons are effective and even offer advantages over traditional lessons. That being said, some teachers and students will always prefer the in-person interaction, and that is totally understandable. 7 Apr 2018 Google

Online training via Facetime or Zoom or Skype or whichever platform works for you, suddenly has become a very important aspect in our lives. With the lockdown people realised that life has to carry on and how blessed are we to have Internet and the ability to communicate, learn, visit and actually see your own family and friends, children and grandchildren live on the big screen right in the privacy of your very own lounge. It makes one think of years back when the first Star Wars movies came out where they used virtual messages, very much in the same way as we have it now.

Now one could ask, “Can the online piano or instrumental lesson really take the place of a physically face-to-face or one-on-one lesson with a teacher?”

The answer is an absolute yes!

Let’s look at a Zoom class: In the first place, it actually is still very much a face-to-face or one-on-one teaching situation, just not in the way that we are used to. Many people have suddenly found that “zoom” has become a great friend. The lessons are still face-to-face but in a virtual manner.

I recently had the privilege and honour to be able to visit “live” with my very own father who lives in another continent. We could talk for hours and I literally walked through his house on his Ipad making it possible to experience something of his own situation so far away from us. I could literally walk through his house and with a small bit of imagination even feel the furniture, smell the smells from the kitchen and even hug my father by just seeing him and “feeling” him via this medium. What a privilege we have today! Not many years back any contact with loved ones far away was not on the table and quite heartbreaking for families.

Zoom or Skype lessons are a great alternative

There are many advantages to having online lessons instead of having to attend a lesson at a specific venue. Many people though, would rather prefer to have a one-on-one lesson where they physically go to the music school and see the teacher face-to-face – in real life and not on a screen. In the end, this is probably the ideal for every person, yet online lessons are making lessons for far away or special needs people an amazing alternative and possibility.

Advantages of having online training:

Here is a list of the benefits for online piano training or learning to play any instrument in a virtual basis having lessons on Zoom or Skype or Facetime etc,

Geographical obstacles are no more a problem.

A great benefit is a possibility of learning to play an instrument, even though not being able to attend a physical school because of disability or distance or whatever the reason may be.

Suddenly there is the possibility for every person to better themselves by getting the training they need in any area of life they always wanted to be trained in. There is this great opportunity of studying at an online music school or piano school where you weekly will have the same face-to-face lesson as with a well trained professional teacher.

No travelling – saving money, time and stress!

A great plus for having Zoom classes is the fact that no travelling is required therefore a major amount of time is saved. Just think of the hours spent to travel and having to endure traffic for those driving with their cars. There is always the problem of parking and then the added cost involved for parking. It’s a great plus if you consider that you do not have to travel by underground or bus packed with people on your way to your lesson. That alone makes it worthwhile and a great convenience.

The convenience of being able to study while working, studying or fulfilling your duties at home with children etc.

Many moms or dads would love to study music for themselves but being busy with chores, work and children, most parents would not even consider adding another trip for themselves to a music school which includes hours of time, travel and expenses. With learning or studying online with a Zoom teacher, the dream of furthering yourself as an adult is not only possible but also exciting!

The convenience of studying in your own safe environment. More fun and less stress.

Having lessons online brings your lessons right into the privacy of your own lounge with your own keyboard. This is also a great benefit to those who are shyer as a person, preferring the intimacy and safety of your own surroundings. Being comfortable in your own surroundings makes lessons and learning less stressful and a pleasure.

Affordability with lower costs

Having online or Zoom lessons is a smart way of saving lots of time, energy and frustration and all of that at a lower cost than physically going to a class.

Zoom Lessons have become an important development in today’s world climate

Today Zoom or Skype lessons has become an important development where no one in the past really thought that it was possible or beneficial. It’s actually been proven not only to be possible but also to be highly successful.

During the lockdown period, many students and teachers of the London Piano Institute visited together via Zoom, had lessons and even had a buzzing concert online with great enthusiastic participants! People loved it!

New open doors for many

The new media used for teaching an instrument with a teacher on Zoom or on Skype has really opened many doors for people that never would have had the opportunity in the past, seeing that they were not able to attend a music school or learn to play an instrument with a teacher, because of distance or disability or the non-ability to find a teacher nearby etc.

The understanding between student and teacher is enhanced

I found that these zoom lessons can bring a closeness between the teacher and the student in maybe even much a greater way than when the student comes to the teacher for a lesson at a physical school etc.

A more relaxed atmosphere

This might sound strange but in actual fact, it is as though student and the teacher both find learning and training more rewarding in the relaxed atmosphere of their own homes. No rushing and stressing to make the lesson in time at a certain venue!

A new unity amongst humans

This technology actually has proved to create a great sense of unity amongst humans and understanding of what real life is about.

The electronic medium brings an important feeling of being human, even although the media that is being used is so technical and impersonal. In the past, I found people very formal towards one another, even to the extent of not being totally real. It’s like wearing a type of mask in trying to be highly professional and impress. Well, Zoom sessions have brought a relaxedness between people and there are quite a few hilarious videos on youtube with boobies which happened in some group Zoom sessions. It’s as though humans suddenly explore this new way of visiting and having fun. Thankfully people are more real than before!

Greater ability to concentrate and greater confidence

In Zoom lessons there is a closeness that develops between the student and the teacher without it being too personal. In a sense, when you attend your lesson at a school, most students feel very aware of themselves, being mindful of the way they are dressed, who they are, what they are doing etc while in doing online lessons there is less of a self-consciousness. This is especially true because of the screen and the fact that one moves the screen away from the face of the person when training and showing on the keyboard. It means that when the student is playing on the keys with the camera focusing on keys, the teacher does not see the face or the student which gives them more confidence and less consciousness of the teacher. This leads to greater concentration.

Correcting hand position or seating

The negative part in online lessons is the fact that you do not have the ability to physically touch the person’s arm or hand when wanting to correct hand position or arm position or seating, although all of these can quite easily be explained and demonstrated by the teacher via zoom.

Lesson expands beyond the lesson

Using WhatsApp and Zoom to make contact with the student expands the lesson as the teacher can easily send extra music or information or notation to help the student even after the lesson is done. The students are also able to send short recordings or clips to the teacher or ask important questions needed for their next lesson should they be so motivated. It’s easy for the teacher and student to share notes and thoughts.

Improves your technical skills

Having Zoom lessons helps you to get to know your laptop, improving your technical skills and general learning of the use of your laptop. You do have to adapt when doing online lessons as there are the technicalities of understanding Zoom, knowing your laptop, knowing a bit about the Internet etc. but fortunately these are picked up very quickly. The piano teacher or musical instrument teacher easily can do a snapshot or use a writing tablet to convey that which they are explaining to the student. Once, having conquered these small technicalities on gadgets and the way they operate, your training can be highly enjoyable!

Having the easy option of recording your lesson for future reference.
A wonderful benefit of having online zoom classes is having the option of recording the class. That is truly a great pro for this way of learning!. Your online classes can be recorded easily and the session recordings can then be viewed again and again, life-long. Recording of lessons at a music school where you are physically present with a teacher can not easily be done while on Zoom, it’s so easy just to hit the record button and relisten when you need to practise!

Being physically present – is it really needed?

I think most people’s first reaction on the question of having music lessons online versus going to a music school physically would a definite no as we are so used to doing lessons a certain way and of course there is the aspect of being able to physically touch the hand or shoulders or the student in piano training for example, although, this is not even often done in a one-on-one class situation unless really needed.

I thought a lot about it and experienced the lessons given on Zoom and on deeper thought, I actually have come to the conclusion that in a certain sense Zoom lessons might even be much better than attending a class. The only real negative on training online is sometimes the difficulty to see the whole picture of the student and the keys all at once. This could, however, be rectified with moving the laptop further away or having it linked to a big screen TV. There is the negative part of not being able to write on the student’s score, but even that is compensated for with the student him or herself now marking their own score, making it more clear in the mind of the student.

What is needed for a Zoom music class?

There are some important aspects around wanting to do lessons via Skype, FaceTime or Zoom etc. First of all, you need a laptop and or an iPad or a good smartphone. The most important thing is good Internet. Reliable fast Internet would make your lessons a pleasure. Having a laptop with a screen which can be moved up and down either to show your face or to capture your hands while playing on the keys, helps a lot. An Ipad can work, but can not be moved from hands to face without having to move the whole pad. You can also set up both your Ipad as well as your phone or laptop on Zoom, giving you two angles from which the video is taken and a better full view.

Summary:

Having online lessons will basically be the same as a normal lesson in a classroom situation except that it’s now at your own home. There is a huge saving in costs for petrol as well as a major amount of time saved by not having to commute especially in a city like London.

As a working professional, studying music as an extra development and having the ability to return home, having the lesson in your own setup studio or lounge could make a huge difference. Normally you would have had to travel by underground or on foot, depending on how far you are away from the music school, to have your lesson. This could be great if you are close by but online studies are so much better than having to travel and fight traffic!

YouTube lessons are not always dependable or correct

Online training or a musical instrument training has actually started quite a while ago with many YouTube teachers. The problem with YouTube teachers is that not all of the work beginning taught is correct. I’ve just had a student learning to play “Fur Elize” from watching Youtube videos. Unfortunately, the tutorial is totally wrong and the student had to first unlearn and then relearn the piece! It’s not easy to know which Youtube lessons are really done by professional people and you could be learning the wrong things. I suggest that you rather enrol for an online “live” music school where you will be taught by professional fully trained music teachers who can teach you the right thing, the right way from the start.

So do not delay.

Book your first online Zoom class today!

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